May. 17th, 2017

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I have been putting this one off a bit. I was watching the episodes and discussing them elsewhere including on the podcast MarkWho42.

Then I got an email from a friend who said that they missed my NWR and wanted to know what I thought of the season so far. I got two other messages on facebook from some other friends asking the same question. Which leads me to believe that people actually read my reviews.

So this is going to be the usual that above the cut is spoiler free and below the cut and in the comments spoilers are allowed. I am also asking speculation ONLY for episodes that have not aired. No spoilers sweetie.

The Pilot (which was very cleverly named)

Introducing a new companion is a tricky thing. In short order you have to get the character into the story, give the audience an idea of who this person is and where they fit in or if they fit in, and then you drop them into the middle of the Doctor’s life to sink or swim.

Moffat was smart and kept the introduction of Bill Potts on Earth. We follow her journey through this adventure and through that discover who she is. Pearl Mackie is very much up to the task at hand and gives us a wonderful performance. There is a whimsy to this episode that had been lacking in the previous season.

Over all I found it a solid start to the season.

Smile

First full adventure on another planet.

Bill takes things in stride but questions everything. I think her questions which, on occasion, catch the Doctor short and he has to think about the answer are rather fun.

We have an episode where the big bad is man made rather than alien. And I will give Frank Cottrell-Boyce credit for Best Use of Emojis in a TV show along with the crew that created the robots used in this episode.

I liked that this episode, after you saw the whole thing, made you reconsider who was in the wrong here.

It gave us a look at how Bill handled being on an alien planet with the Doctor but I did miss Nardole. I know that they are minimizing his use at this point so the focus can be on Bill.

Thin Ice

So we go from distant planet to historical (loosely) drama and find the Doctor and Bill at the last Ice Fair on the Thames in 1814 with a mystery under the ice.

This was a solid monster episode with the question being raised who is more monstrous, the monster or the humans. It reminded me of old Who in many ways. This easily would have worked with Pertwee or Troughton.

The discussion of the whitewashing of history and racism then and now set a lot of people off on the Internet, but I have to say that Sarah Dollard managed to walk that tightrope over the pit of vipers very well. Bill having concerns about how she is going to be treated because of the color of her skin gave gravitas to things that happen later. She is aware of the history behind the Empire. Bill is many things but she is not stupid.

The monster was more to move the plot forward than to be an obstacle.

Good dialogue and wonderful acting.

Knock Knock

I liked this one because we saw the Doctor try to fit into Bill’s world, which is a bit of a switch for Doctor Who. And David Suchet is wonderfully creepy in it.

That Bill found a house that was not quite right should not surprise anyone. I though that the roomates ranged from Ok to Interesting. The solution was a little convoluted but when I rewatched it, I could see the pipework that led to it so they didn’t cheat.

I would like this gang to find another house that they could afford to rent.

I also like how Bill’s sexuality was address by another character who then respected her wishes and backed off. That is how it should be in the real world.

Oxygen

I had liked the episodes this season. I thought they were well written and well acted and worth another watch. Then we got to this one and I am in love with these characters (being the Doctor, Bill, and Nardole).

The first full show of Doctor Who I saw was Sunmakers. This one reminded me a lot of that however the big bad is not an alien or a monster but something of our own making which is the second time this has been done in this season. Dare I say we are seeing a theme here?
There are a number of ticking clocks that push the plot forward. I though that Jamie Mathieson (Mummy on the Orient Express) did a fine job with the characters. It was nice seeing Nardole in the mix. The dialogue had its witty moments and a few that had me saying Oh Holy Carp!

We get to see Bill deal with the reality of being part of the Doctor’s life. It can be dangerous as much as exhilarating. She almost dies more than once. In saving her, the Doctor loses something rather precious to him.

Nardole yet again reminds the Doctor of what he made Nardole promise to do and the consequences of his actions because the Doctor can’t seem to stay put. Nardole is the Doctor’s Jiminy Cricket.

That the consequences from one episode are going to have ripping effects to the next couple makes me happy.

Overall I am loving this season and it is a crying shame that this is it for Capaldi since I think this is the year that he has really hit his stride. Pearl Mackie is making Bill go quickly up my favorite companion scale. And Capaldi has done something that I didn’t think possible and made his Doctor my new favorite Doctor. He was edging there but these episodes just shows me what might be.

Breath )

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